As the open road calls, what gear do you answer with? We’ve paved the way for you, with seven gadgets to help make your road trip a more relaxed, enjoyable journey. So whether you’re traveling by motorcycle, car, or RV, you’ll have plenty of great ways to stay in touch, entertained, powered up, and on the right track.
1. Cardo Systems scala rider G4 Powerset
Why We Like It: If your road trips involve hopping on a two-wheeler, you’ll appreciate this hands-free intercom system. The set comes with two pre-paired wireless microphones. Each rider clips one to their helmet, enabling a whole host of conferencing options: The most basic are rider to passenger (on the same bike) and rider to rider (on separate bikes) up to a mile away! But alternatively, one couple could conference with an outside caller—or another couple on a bike (for up to four at once). Best of all, you can instantly link to any other rider (in the vicinity) wearing a G4! Then again, these versatile headsets could just be used for basic calling and listening to music, either from its built-in FM radio or a Bluetooth-connected phone/music player.
How Much: $390
Buy It: Visit Amazon.com
2. Kidz Gear Headphone Bundle
Why We Like It: These headphones are made especially for kids, both in their size and the fact that they have a special cable that limits the volume to safe levels. The bundle we’re giving away comes with two sets of headphones (each normally $30) with special controls for Apple devices and—just to keep the peace in the backseat—a cable splitter that allows two kiddos to enjoy the same song or movie. The universal (non-Apple) equivalents are $20 for one and $36 for the similar bundle.
How Much: $50
Buy It: Visit GearForKidz.com
3. Scosche reVOLT c2
Why We Like It: This is the smallest and most powerful dual-USB charger for the car. Without taking up much room at all, it can simultaneously recharge two juice-thirsty iPads at once. Or you can power up one iPad and any of about a bajillion other devices. Or who says you have to have an iPad? Any tired gadget with a USB cable will be happy to see this little plug as you cruise our highways and byways.
How Much: $25
Buy It: Visit Scosche.com
4. BackJoy Relief +
Why We Like It: Traditionally, car rides start with the passengers gleefully shouting, "Road trip!" or "Shotgun!"…and the driver anticlimactically mumbling, "I hope my back survives all this sitting." This highly portable, cushy memory foam-padded seat is the ticket—even for drivers with chronic back problems. It may not look like much, but on long car rides (and back at the home or office) it does a great job of cradling your keister, helping your posture, and taking the pressure off those potential pain points.
How Much: $60
Buy It: Visit BackJoy.com
5. TravelRest Travel Pillow
Why We Like It: Lugging a pillow from your bedroom is a pain, sacrifices luggage space, and leaves it vulnerable to icky dirt along the dusty trail. The perennial last resort (commandeering a seatbelt) works, but isn’t the greatest and tends to leave those telltale marks on your face. Instead, inflate this cane-shaped cushion and snooze on down the road. It attaches over a headrest and clips to your seatbelt, or can be used "freestyle" on either side of your body. (It also works well on buses, trains, and planes.)
How Much: $27
Buy It: Visit TravelRest.net
6. RingO Car Pack
Why We Like It: Your iPad or Galaxy Tab goes into a special case, which then snaps onto this headrest mount and—BAM!—instant backseat cinema. Back at home, the same case can snap onto a wall mount accessory ($40), to use your tablet as a stylish digital photo frame. Or you could pop it onto the flexible arm accessory ($70), for infotainment in the kitchen or bathroom.
How Much: $70 to $100
Buy It: Visit iPadOnTheWall.com
7. Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM
Why We Like It: Although this 7-inch touch screen GPS can go in any vehicle, it’s especially made for RVs. It comes with a heavy duty extension mount—great for those deep dashboards. It has a world of handy RV-centric info, including Good Sam Club campgrounds, discount locations, and pet-friendly parks. It offers several routing options (like using most or least freeways, etc.). It features free lifetime map updates and traffic alerts. And coolest of all, it’ll automatically adjust your route based on your particular vehicle’s size and weight. It can be used as a Bluetooth speakerphone. And it also has an input for cameras, video players or Magellan’s handy backup camera accessory ($150).
How Much: $430
Buy It: Visit MagellanGPS.com
Enter win a Road Trip Gadget Prize Pack including a Magellan RoadMate RV9165T-LM , a Scosche reVOLT charger, a Kidz Gear headphone bundle, and a TravelRest pillow—valued at over $500!
Fodors.com Travel Technology Columnist Scott Tharler is an expert in gadgets, gambling, and travel. He’s written four books, plus hundreds of mobile and wireless tips for Sony and PC World. In addition to his daily Discovery News gadget blog, you can find links to other gadget articles, social feeds and lists of his current favorite gadgets at about.me/gadgetfans.
Photo credits:. Courtesy of Cardo Systems, Inc.; Courtesy of Apple Inc.; Scosche Industries; Courtesy of HIGear Design; Courtesy of BackJoy; Courtesy of HIGear Design; Courtesy of Vogel’s; MiTAC International Corporation